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India’s trade with Gulf Cooperation Council increasing at rapid pace

These increasing figures assume significance as India is looking at negotiating a free trade agreement with the grouping.

GCC trade
The share of these six countries in India's total exports has risen to 10.4 per cent in 2021-22 from 9.51 per cent in 2020-21. (File/Reuters)

India’s bilateral trade with all the six members of GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) group countries, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, has increased significantly in 2021-22 on account of increasing economic ties between the two regions.

India’s exports to the GCC have increased by 58.26 per cent to about USD 44 billion in 2021-22 against USD 27.8 billion in 2020-21, according to the data of the commerce ministry.

The share of these six countries in India’s total exports has risen to 10.4 per cent in 2021-22 from 9.51 per cent in 2020-21.

Similarly, imports rose by 85.8 per cent to USD 110.73 billion compared to USD 59.6 billion in 2020-21, the data showed.

The share of GCC members in India’s total imports rose to 18 per cent in 2021-22 from 15.5 per cent in 2020-21.

Bilateral trade has increased to USD 154.73 billion in 2021-22 from USD 87.4 billion in 2020-21.

These increasing figures assume significance as India is looking at negotiating a free trade agreement with the grouping.

The country has already implemented a comprehensive trade pact with the UAE on May 1, with an aim to boost bilateral trade to USD 100 billion in the coming years.

The GCC was established in May 1981. Its members are Saudi Arabia Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and UAE.

Mumbai-based exporter and founder chairman of Technocraft Industries India Sharad Kumar Saraf said that the GCC has emerged as a major trading partner for India and huge potential is there for increasing investments also between the two regions.

“The trade relation is bound to grow in the coming years. Reasons for the growth include anti-China sentiments, increasing quality of domestic goods and improvement in international trade. A quantum jump will come when the trade pact will be operationalised properly,” Saraf said.

Another industry expert said that the GCC’s substantial oil and gas reserves are of fundamental importance for India’s energy needs and India can support in meeting the GCC’s food security requirements.

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